Google Books has done it again. Despite heavy opposition to its book-scanning project, another deal's been established, and this time, the agreement involves the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage (along with the National Libraries of Florence and Rome).
Up to one million out-of-copyright works may be digitized as a result of this arrangement, which is one reason it's important. There are probably some academics who would kill for access to just 20 or 30 of them, never mind such a huge number.
Two other interesting facts are that Google's never before worked with a ministry of culture or any Italian libraries, meaning it's done extraordinarily well on this first try.
Anyway, on the Official Google Blog, Gino Mattiuzzo, a strategic partner development manager, hinted that more deals are on the way, writing, "We believe today's announcement is an important step, and we look forward to working with more libraries and other partners. We envision a future in which people will be able to search and access the world's books anywhere, anytime."
That short statement also makes clear that Google doesn't see any lawsuits or new regulations putting a stop to its digitization project.